VR Workout, Month 2

As of today I’ve been working out in VR for 2 months. So far it’s still going well.

I aim for 4 days/week and I’ve always done at least that many and I think a couple of weeks I hit 5 days. And sometimes I wind up doing what are essentially semi-workouts just by playing certain games for fun (on PSVR2 Beat Saber, RagnaRock, Synth Riders and even Until You Fall can all get the heart pumping pretty good).

The Quest 2 is my ‘workout headset’ still thanks to the Meta Move app that’ll track calories burned and amount of time spent moving. The lack of a cord helps too, as do all the 3rd party accessories I have for it. My Fitbit ~sometimes~ tracks this stuff. If it was a little more reliable I might use PSVR2 for working out though I find the PSVR2 in general is harder to keep clean and I do sweat a LOT doing these workouts.

While weight loss isn’t my primary goal (though lord knows I could stand to lose a LOT of weight) I am losing some. Closing in on 9 lbs which seems like an OK, but not remarkable, weight-loss pace. Friends who are into fitness keep telling me to ignore the scale since muscle weighs more than fat so I might actually gain weight at times.

Lifestyle changes, beyond the actual workouts, are mostly incidental. Old me would get off work, walk the dog, come in and open a beer and fire up a video game until dinner. I’d often have 2-3 beers before dinner (we tend to eat late, around 8 pm). New me gets off work, walks the dog, comes in and does a VR workout and the way the timing works out I’m just about done and recovered by the time dinner is ready. So I just don’t have the ‘free time’ for drinking as much beer as I used to. 🙂 So we’ll call that a healthy side-effect.

But I do catch myself thinking more about what I eat and have thoughts like “Do I really need to eat this or am I just bored?” Instead of potato chips I’ve been snacking on carrot chips, just as one example. Turns out I just like to crunch things. I was also falling into the habit of having a rather stiff nightcap before bed to prevent me from laying there wide awake stressing about work. Now I’ve been turning towards gummies laced with CBD and/or hemp-based THC. (Marijuana is not legal in my state but hemp-based THC is, at least for now…that’s a whole other post though.) Anyway this is an improvement in terms of calories, though I won’t go so far as to call it a healthy choice. I sure sleep like a baby, though.

Earlier this week I took a big step and bought my first actual fitness app, Les Mills Bodycombat. It is a BIG jump from Beat Saber and Audio Trip to Les Mills. I’m a little hesitant about it all because I think the reason I have stuck with working out for 2 months is because they’ve been fairly low impact workouts. After doing Les Mills I am like a wrung-out dish cloth. Fitbit loves it and tells me I’ve been in ‘the zone’ but I’m so tired after doing Les Mills that the rest of the evening is basically spent laying around recovering. I’m afraid that is going to burn me out, so I’m still pondering how to work that in. What I’ve been doing is a little Beat Saber to loosen up, then jump to Les Mills and do a couple of 8-10 minute sessions, then over to Audio Trip to kind of cool now and loosen up some more.

I always feel good the next day in that “sore muscles but for a good reason” way, so that’s a bonus. But I’m starting to feel like my whole life is built around these workouts and I know I won’t keep that up. I’m thinking maybe I do 2 workouts/week that are based on games, and 2 that incorporate Les Mills. Still pondering, though.

Also of all the fitness apps on Quest 2, I picked Les Mills because a) it didn’t have a subscription like a lot of the fitness apps do and b) it was something different. It’s basically all shadow-boxing whereas Beat Saber is slashing at things and Audio Trip is kind of dance/rhythm oriented. It feels pretty good punching stuff in Les Mills even though what you’re punching is virtual.

The Climb has been left behind for now, and I haven’t been fitting in much Pistol Whip but if I do this 2 & 2 idea I’ll probably work that in with Beat Saber and Audio Trip for the ‘gaming workout’ days. It’s a really fun game so if nothing else, I’ll just play it for fun.

So I guess that about sums it up. This is the kind of post that is mostly just written for my future self to look back on and think either “Look how far I’ve come” or “Why did I quit doing this? I was feeling so good about myself!” Hopefully the former.

Because I DO feel good about myself, and in general I just feel good. I feel stronger, I feel more nimble and my mood is generally much better. Both my mom and my grandmother got very sedentary in their later years and I saw what a negative impact that had on them. (All the men in my family tree died way before this became an issue.) With Lola slowing way down I was walking less and less and feeling stiffer and weaker and, y’know, the groan that escapes just from getting up from a chair or something. I was doing all that. I was feeling like an old man. I’m feeling much better now. So I hope I can keep this up.

June 2023

Welcome to the really nasty months of summer. We actually had a pretty mild June here in NC; It’s only hit 90F+ in the last couple days. Compared to last year when by July 1st it’d already been brutally hot for more days than I felt I could handle, it has been a joy. Of course now I’m worried the pendulum will swing back and July-Sept will deliver record-breaking heat but that’s just me and my glass half empty attitude.

Anyway on to the recap, such that it is.

Last Month’s Games

[Ghostwire Tokyo] In life this little girl was a piano prodigy but now the music just sounds wrong. Turns out the music itself was cursed by a malicious maestro!

I think only one game made it from last month, and that is Ghostwire Tokyo which I’m still playing, and still enjoying. Just to give you an idea of how much gaming I’m doing these days, How Long To Beat lists Ghostwire Tokyo as being 21 hours long for “Main & Extra” content and 38 hours for the Completionists. I’ve been playing it for several months and still haven’t finished. I think I’m at something like 23-24 hours.

I’m going to be super-lazy and respost a comment I made on Nerd Girl Thoughts in response to a post that mentioned Ghostwire:

I’m enjoying Ghostwire Tokyo quite a bit (playing on Xbox Game Pass). I love the creepy feeling of moving around an empty city. And the Visitor designs are awesome; some of them make my skin crawl. When the parade of ghost demons [see image at the top of this post] comes sauntering down an avenue I always stop to watch it, from a safe distance. Getting pulled into that thing is not good.

I don’t really like “horror” but I do really enjoy “creepy” and there’s not a lot of games that offer the latter without leaning into the former. Plus the side quests always make me feel good. In general helping all these spirits move on to a better place feels a lot better than the typical fetch quests with very little narrative support that you get in other games.

And then there is the lore, whether it be learning about Japanese junk food or about some truly weird demons from Japanese legends.

Agreed, though, that the combat isn’t super compelling, but it gets the job done.

[Ghostwire Tokyo] This is Mr Gutsy. He shows up in a cursed school. He only moves when you are not looking at him. Mr Gutsy really creeps me out.

New This Month

Early in the month the last Destiny 2 expansion went on sale, so I bought it and as is typical, started playing but focused on the old content I’ve never done, and got bored and drifted away before ever getting to the expansion I just bought. Not really complaining though… I had a good bit of fun while I was playing. It just never holds me for very long.

It’s tough to get a good pic in Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners since you need both hands to hold off a walker and also stab it in the head. No fingers left to punch the ‘take screenshot’ button. After this shot I grabbed a knife in my left hand and put this one down.

Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is what I’m playing most in Playstation VR, when I’m just playing a game. It’s been a lot of fun. The basic game loop is you take a boat to an area and have a fixed amount of time before darkness falls and the undead swarm (I guess…I’ve always fled before I see what bad stuff happens). During that time you can scavenge for junk that you can break down to craft with back at camp, or you can try to push a quest forward. I guess if you’re really good you can do both but I tend to run out of time if I don’t focus on one or the other. It’s the kind of game which would probably be too basic to keep me interested in ‘flat’ gaming but in VR is pretty compelling.

[Walking Dead: Saints & Sinnners] Dark & spooky crypt is dark and spooky!

I’m dabbling in a lot of VR games but won’t list them here since I might mention them in a VR workouts post.

I also picked up Final Fantasy XVI based on really enjoying the demo though in all honesty I haven’t gotten very far in it. I like it well enough but I’m just not doing much gaming these days.


The big hit with us this month is Silo (Apple TV) which is a dystopian sci-fi show about a community of people living in an underground silo. Something happened that erased all knowledge of the outside world; everyone knows it exists but they all believe leaving the Silo = instant death. Their technology & knowledge is limited in strange ways. They have rudimentary computers, but for instance there are no movies or video. They have a window or two into the outside world but they don’t understand what stars are. It’s really strange and fun. As this show is still airing I dunno what the truth is but I am loving it!

Very close behind that in my “OMG what great TV this month!” list is season two of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+). S1 felt like very traditional Star Trek but so far S2 seems to be stretching out to become it’s own thing and so far, I am on-board with that.

Yellowjackets (Showtime) is a show about a high school girl’s soccer team that gets lost in the mountains and isn’t rescued for 18 months. The show bounces back and forth between what happens in the wilderness as the girls struggle to survive (things get very dark), and their lives 20-ish years after rescue as someone is threatening to expose their secrets. This show seems quite well-loved but honestly I’m having trouble really getting into it. There’s enough there to keep us watching but we can also set it aside for a week and not miss it.

The Big Door Prize (Apple TV) is a strange show. As it stars Chris O’Dowd I expected it to be a comedy and it has funny moments but mostly it just felt uncomfortable and sad. The setting is a small town where a mysterious machine shows up in the local general store. This machine tells you your life potential and the adults of the town get really fixated on this, some of them changing careers or just flipping over the table that is their lives, while the teen-agers of the town just scratch their heads and try to figure out what the hell is going on. This one has been reviewed well but I just found it pretty depressing.

Loot (Apple TV) on the other hand, is pretty fun. It stars Maya Rudolph as a very rich, and recently divorced, individual who learns that she owns a charity foundation, and decides to get involved with it, much to the dismay of the person running the charity. Ron Funches shines as the lovable and optimistic IT dude and he steals every scene he is in. This (so far, we haven’t finished it) is a real ‘feel good’ show kind of in the vein of Ted Lasso.


As the temps climb I haven’t been reading that much since I do most of my reading while sitting outside with Lola. I’m still in the middle of The Expanse book 8 (I think?) Tiamat’s Wrath. Not finished so I can’t say what my final opinion will be, but generally I’m liking it less than the earlier books.

And that’s June wrapped up. Getting into doing more exercising has really impacted the cadence of my life. I spend a lot of time doing physical VR stuff and then being quite tired in the evenings. Tired enough that I often put on a soccer match or something rather than playing a game. It makes for short recaps but actually it all feels pretty good as I now play games when I really feel like playing them rather than just kind of out of habit, which I’d been doing for quite some time.

PSVR2 Interference Solution

I don’t leave my PSVR2 setup, which means every time I play (which is pretty much every day and sometimes a few times a day) I have to plug in the headset. I have had bad luck with USB ports in the past, possibly because I am old and my eyes are dim and I tend to fumble around plugging stuff in. Whatever the case, I was concerned about constantly connecting/disconnecting the PSVR2.

I figured the safest bet was to buy a short USB extension cable and leave that plugged in to the PS5 all the time. Then for bonus points I bought one of those magnetic connectors for the cable. I made sure both expansion and adapter were rated for 40 GPS.

Specifically here’re the items I bought (Amazon US links):

CABLEDECONN USB4 8K Cable 0.8M Thunderbolt 4 Compatible USB 4 Type-c Male to Female Extension Cable Ultra HD 8K@60Hz 100W Charging 40Gbps Data Transfer Compatible with External SSD eGPU

USB C Magnetic Adapter, (2 Pack) DuHeSin Magnetic USB C Adapter 24 Pin Straight with PD 140w Charge USB4 40Gbps Data Transfer 8K 60Hz Video for Thunderbolt 3/4, MacBook Pro/Air and More Type C Devices

I was a little concerned that adding these parts to the setup would cause frame drops or tracking issues with the PSVR2 headset but I was willing to risk it.

The good news is, PSVR2 worked absolutely fine with this set up.

The bad news is, now the Pulse 3D Wireless Headphones (which connect via a dongle) started dropping audio constantly. That was unexpected.

I did some research online and the easiest solution was to move the dongle to a port on the back of the PS5 (if you haven’t seen a PS5, on the front of the system is a USB-A format port, and a USB-C format port, right next to each other. The Pulse uses the A port and the PSVR2 visor uses the C port). This mostly worked for me but now the Pulse headphones had micro-drops even when I wasn’t using PSVR2. Prior to all this they had worked flawlessly.

More researching. People said it was the magnetic connector. But more and more I saw that folks had the same issue just by using an extension cable. The best theory I read was that most cables aren’t shielded as well as the PSVR2’s ‘native’ cable so stuff was leaking out and interfering with the Pulse dongle.

See how I said “stuff” was leaking out? That’s because I know nothing. Is it EM? Magentic fields? Ectoplasm? I have no idea.

But I found a fix: Ferrite Cores. Sounds so sci-fi. But these are little gizmos that just snap onto a cable and reduce this interference. Here is the set I bought (also pictured at the top of the post):

20 Pcs Snap on Ferrite Core Cord Ring RFI EMI Noise Filter Suppressor Cable Clip for 3.5mm/5mm/7mm/9mm/13mm Diameter Cable, Black

Picture of a ferrite core on a usb extension cableFor best results, I read, you should loop your cable twice through a ferrite core. With the above set of cores, the biggest ones are big enough to accommodate that extension cable looped through twice. Actually the fit was a little loose so I stuffed a few pieces of bamboo skewer in there to make everything snug. It looks like ass but so far it works perfectly. No more drops on the headphones and the magnetic connector makes it easy to attach/detach the visor without any fumbling.

Now that I know it works I’ll see about clipping the bamboo down some. If I get really ambitious I might take it all apart and try it without doing the loop which I think would look a lot cleaner. Maybe I’ll do some experimenting over the weekend. I also worry a tiny bit about the weight of the cable hanging out of that port though I think the fact that the loop touches the ghetto unfinished bookcase that I use as a console stand might help with that. I also used some silicon tape to tape the business end of the cable to the side of the bookcase to keep it out of the way and provide some resistance. The idea is that if someone trips over the cable, it’ll detach at the magnetic connector rather than pull the PS5 off the shelf.

Anyway that’s it. It was an easy fix after a lot of googling, so I figured I’d share.

Saints & Sinners & Sea Legs… I Mean VR Legs

Sorry for the title, I just can’t resist alliteration.

Anyway, for those who aren’t aware, “VR Legs” is a term referring to how well you are adapted to being in a VR environment. For a lot of people VR can cause some simulator/motion sickness, at least at first. Once that goes away you’re said to have your “VR Legs.” (This is all a riff on Sea Legs which is a term referring to becoming acclimated to the pitching of a boat at sea, both in terms of maintaining balance and not getting sea sick.)

In my last go-round with VR I struggled a bit with motion sickness off and on. It definitely depends on the game you’re playing as well as the hardware you’re playing on. This time around it has been much less of an issue because the Quest 2 and PSVR2 both perform much better than the PSVR 1 and my Rift S which was hooked to what I now realize was an under-powered gaming laptop. It seems to me VR comfort is very FPS & refresh-rate dependent.

I think it also helps that I’ve been sliding into VR a bit more gradually. I started with rhythm games like Beat Saber. For me at least I feel very comfortable if I’m not moving around in VR and in Beat Saber you mostly stand there and swing your arms. Pistol Whip is the same; even though you are constantly & automatically moving forward (like you’re on one of those moving walkways in an airport), my brain seems to see it more as the world is moving past me, which is fine. The Climb has you moving around but you move by grabbing ledges with your hands and again my brain seems OK with that.

Where things can get dicey for me is when I start pushing on those analog sticks to move around. It’s a very strange feeling that is hard to describe but it feels like a kind of pressure inside my head as my sense of balance tries to reckon with what my eyes are seeing.

a backpack in vr that acts as the game's inventory system
This is your inventory system. As is usually the case in every game I play, mine is full.

Which finally brings me around to The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners which is the first ‘moving around’ game I’ve played extensively since jumping back into VR. And so far it is going pretty good.

In S&S you move forward with the analog stick on the left controller, and turn with the stick on the right controller. There are, as with most games, a variety of Comfort Settings available. S&S also tends to be a slower paced game most of the time as you creep past zombies and such.

I started playing with smooth forward motion (I’m honestly not sure if they offer a teleport option in this one) which seems to have a bit of a vignette effect when moving quickly. A vignette effect is when the edges of your field of view go dark when moving or turning and for some reason it really helps with comfort.

By default S&S has ‘snap’ turning set to 45 degrees. So when you tap the right stick your view instantly shifts 45 degrees left or right, again with the vignette effect. This keeps your eyes and balance in sync as you don’t see the world turning. You just kind of teleport in place, 45 degrees to the left or right.

a vr hand holding a gun
Checking out the crappy gun you get at the start of the game. In the background is the old school bus that acts as your ‘safe house’

I did try smooth turning (which just means you turn as you would in any regular game) but it made me a bit woozy. But what I’ve been doing is using smaller and smaller snap settings. I think I’m down to 30 degrees now. My theory is that I’m creeping up on smooth turning, but we’ll see if that holds true.

But the ‘super-obvious in hindsight’ option for turning is… just to turn. I do my VR gaming standing up (unless a game requires sitting) and rather than use the right stick to turn I can just turn my body. That is 100% comfortable of course because eyes and balance are both experiencing the same thing. Not only is it comfortable but it plays into the whole immersion aspect. In the same way, I can press a button to crouch down to pick something up or open a container near the ground. But I can also just physically squat down. Shifting as much as possible from button-pressing to actual movement feels better for me, both in terms of comfort and immersion.

At this point I can comfortably play Saints & Sinners for longer than I ever have free time, if that makes sense. My last session was about 2 hours and I quit because it was getting late, not because I was feeling any ill effects. I do feel pretty confident that I’ll eventually get to where I can turn off all the comfort options and just run around willy-nilly using the analog sticks; it’s just going to take time.

a skeleton in a coffin,
Some areas are really dark and your flashlight has seen better days, apparently. At least this fellow isn’t moving…

Here’s a couple of tips I’ve picked up from the pundits.

1) Try to play frequently. You’re basically training your brain so repetition is key to learning to deal with being in VR

2) But STOP IMMEDIATELY if you start to feel ill. I have never tested this myself but I have heard, over and over, that trying to ‘push through’ the motion sickness can really screw you up since you’re basically doing Pavlovian training on yourself. Your lizard brain starts to associate putting a VR visor on with feeling nauseous and it just makes things worse. Also once you get good and VR motion sick it can take HOURS to feel better. That part I do know first hand and it is NOT pleasant. So yeah, at the first sign of feeling sick, end your session. Even if it has only been 5-10 minutes. You’ll be able to play for longer with practice.

3) Point a fan at yourself. Staying cool seems to help stave off the nausea and feeling a breeze from one particular direction helps you stay oriented, so you don’t shuffle out of your play area and wind up smacking into something. All these devices have some kind of virtual barrier which should protect you from doing that anyway, but it’s nice to have a back up system. I also have a rubber VR mat and I play barefoot so I know if I’ve stepped off that.

And… I guess that is it. Not even sure why I wrote this post other than I felt like talking about my VR adventures. I’m going to sprinkle in some Saints and Sinners screenshots but one of the big issues with VR games is that all look like crap outside of VR. Trust me that S&S looks pretty sweet inside PSVR2. The slightly stylized graphics give that feel of being in a history museum or something. If you’ve ever toured an old fort and there are manikins in period outfits and maybe posed to be doing some task… if those manikins suddenly came to life and started attacking you….well that’s kind of what playing S&S is like. I’m really digging it so far. But OMG the first time I stabbed a zombie in the head with a knife and couldn’t pull the knife free…what a moment of panic! I’m dragging this thing around while its buddies come at me, and I’m trying like hell to get my knife loose so I can defend myself! Turns out you need to give it a short, sharp jerk to get it free. These zombie skulls are much harder than the ones on the TV show.

Yeah, so gross but… I love it!

Playstation VR2 Gripes

It’s been a little over 3 weeks since I bought the Playstation VR2 and I realized I haven’t talked about it much on the blog.

Generally speaking, I like it a lot. I’ve been using the Quest 2 quite a bit and the upgrade in fidelity between it and PSVR2 is anything from solid to amazing, depending on the port. The haptic feedback feels better than on the Quest 2. For example when playing Beat Saber if you really whip the saber through the air you feel a bit of quiver in the controller like you’re feeling air resistance. At least I think that is what is happening…in the heat of the moment when you’re in the ‘world’ and all that, reality and virtual reality can kind of start to blend together. Maybe it is in my imagination!

It is also really comfortable once you get everything set up right. Once I put it on I lose track of time and hours fly by.

So basically I’m glad I got it but I do have some gripes, mostly around modularity (and forgive me for comparing PSVR2 to the Quest 2 but the Q2 is what I’m most familiar with.) So here’re some things I’d like to see changed in a PSVR 2+ or whatever.

First, the included ear buds sound terrible to me. They’re very tinny sounding and the speakers in the headband of the Quest 2 sound better, IMO. Fortunately I already owned the Playstation Pulse Wireless Headset and I just use that. The ear buds have been removed and set aside.

As a bonus I feel like the Pulse headphones actually help to keep the PSVR Visor positioned correctly to some extent.

Second, as far as I can tell there is no way to replace the headband of PSVR2. The band works pretty well for me, but one of the nice things about the Quest 2 is that there’s a whole cottage industry of replacement headbands so you can shop around and find a style that really works well for you.

Ditto the “interface” (the part of the visor that presses on your face). On the Quest 2, this pops out and you can buy anything from a silicon cover to a complete replacement. Choices are nice. The PSVR2 ‘light shield’ (as they call it) does come off but it has 14 little tabs that have to be detached and Sony warns us to be careful as they could break. The Quest 2 interface just pops out and takes just a second to remove/replace.

And one more: the cushion inside the ‘halo’ of the PSVR2 strap also doesn’t appear to be detachable and I wish it was.

Why the obsession with swappable parts? First because everyone’s head is different and second, hygiene. The PSVR2 (like any VR visor) is HOT and if you’re playing a stand-up or room-scale VR game that includes a lot of activity your head and face are going to start sweating. That sweat saturates the cushion inside the halo and the parts of the visor that press against your face. I REALLY miss being able to disassemble the headset so I can wipe down each part individually (and eventually replace them as they get worn).

So far my ‘solution’ to this problem is to always wear a bandana on my head under the visor. That makes the sweat a bit more manageable, at least, but it’s one more thing to add to the balancing act that is getting the visor in the ‘sweet spot.’

In general getting the PSVR2 on and adjusted feels a lot more fiddly than putting on the Quest 2 (with a 3rd party strap that I love) though once everything is setup I think the PSVR2 is more comfortable. I should add that I did purchase a “comfort strap‘ that adds one more point of support, and as mentioned I think the cups of the Pulse headset help to keep the strap from slipping down.

The trick to wearing the PSVR2 is pulling the back of the strap way down below the curve of the back of your skull almost to where you’d say your neck begins. Old hippy that I am, I have a ponytail and the strap goes below that (and below the knot of the bandana). Then the halo presses against your forehead and in theory the visor just kind of floats in front of your face. If you feel a lot of weight on your nose then you probably have the back of the strap too high on your head.

My last gripe is that I kind of miss the ecosystem that the Quest has. PSVR2 has games and that’s about it. The Quest has games and 3D videos and VR experiences and fitness apps, plus fitness trackers. When you turn on the Quest you’re in a virtual environment that you can mess around in, and you can even bring your physical couch into your VR space so you can sit on it (desks too). PSVR2 doesn’t have any of that, and I get that it is meant as just a gaming system but I still miss the extras. At the least it’d be nice to have a virtual space to hang out in (the return of Playstation Home maybe).

So that’s about it; my list of gripes. But again, I still really like the headset and I have no regrets about buying it. And it is a young device so maybe over time we’ll see products that alleviate some of my complaints.

VR Workouts 1 Month In

As of this coming Thursday I will have been doing my VR workouts for a month. So far, so good.

I have lost a little weight (about 5 lbs) but a friend who is into fitness tells me not to worry about the scale but to worry about how I feel and how my clothes fit. I don’t know that my clothes feel any different but I definitely feel better. There’s more pep in my step, basically. And when work isn’t doing everything it can to destroy me, my mood has been better too.

The workouts themselves continue to be fun, and VR in general has been bringing me a lot of enjoyment.

I’ve also learned that VR workouts are a real thing and I don’t have to put ‘workout’ in quotes. In fact there are a bunch of fitness aps for the Meta Quest and PCVR platforms.

I started with Beat Saber and The Climb. I’ve added Pistol Whip and just recently, Audio Trip. I’ve so far avoided the actual fitness apps because I don’t really need them yet and I don’t want this to become a chore.

Beat Saber is starting to fail me as workout material because I’ve gotten too good at it. Let me explain. I can now do most of the original songs that came with the game in Hard mode. I can get S rank and sometimes not miss a single note. The problem is that Expert, the next logical step, gets so fast that you don’t really have time to swing your arms to cut the blocks and you have to start relying on a lot of wrist movement. As a game, this is still plenty of fun, but it’s less of a workout than taking big swings with your arms. That’s when I added Audio Trip and that game kicks my ass. As is so often the case with VR, it sounds very simple. You just have to touch incoming icons with a ‘ball’ you hold in each hand. Simple enough, but the game makes you stretch and bend and twist and it really gets my heart rate up.

Here’s an official trailer for Audio Trip. You can see it’s kind of a mix between aerobics and dance. I’m REALLY glad I don’t have to see myself playing this game because I’m sure it is a horrifying sight to behold, but like I said, it does get my heartrate up and the sweat flowing.

Oh and I learned the that Quest Move app will track you while playing Rift games through Air Link. I haven’t tested it with Steam VR via Air Link though. Tonight was supposed to be a ‘rest day’ but I was playing a Rift game that involved some fairly vigorous sword swinging and a decent amount of climbing and suddenly Move popped up to tell me I was half-way to my calorie goal. Accidental workout! By the time I was done I was near my goals so I ran through half a dozen Beat Saber songs just to hit them.

All in all, I’m really happy with my progress and that I’ve found a way to exercise that is fun and convenient. I’m gonna keep going. Let’s see if I can make it to 2 months!

By the way, the screenshot at the top of the post is from Drum Rock on Playstation VR2 and has very little to do with workouts, though it can get you a little sweaty. It’s like having the drum kit from Rock Band, only in VR so you don’t have the storage hassles. Drum Rock is pretty fun but you don’t get licensed music, only covers. I get why…it’s a $20 indie title and I’m sure they couldn’t afford licensed songs. But I can dream, right?

May 2023

I’m a few days early, yeah. But we’re in another hell-cycle at work and I don’t know that I’ll have time to post during the week, and my mental state is once again in a very bad place (thanks 100% to the job), so I’m trying to free up tomorrow (a holiday here in the US) as a completely commitment-free day to try to beat back this depression. So the recap comes early this month.

I’m really thinking I need to find a new job but the idea of being 63 and on the market for a web developer job is fairly terrifying. It’s not that the actual WORK at my current job is bad or hard, it’s the management that makes everything awful because every project comes in hot with deadlines that some exec pulled out of his or her ass with no understanding of how much work is involved and no awareness of what other projects are in process. Because of this there is never enough time to do things properly. I’m not good at just letting this stuff go and I carry the anxiety of impossible deadlines with me all the time and it just crushes my spirit.

Anyway, I bought a copy of the teachings of Epictetus and maybe that will help. 🙂

Last Month’s Games

Only two games made it over to this month.

The first was Honkai Star Rail which I enjoy when I play, but I don’t play very often. I’m really looking forward to it hitting the Playstation and when it does I think I’ll probably throw myself into it in a big way. I’m just back to a “can’t sit in front of this PC for another minute” place because, as mentioned, work has been really, REALLY sucking again.

Creepy visitors trying to trap souls. We must stop them!

The other title is Ghostwire Tokyo which I continue to enjoy and chip away at. It’s probably the (non-VR) game I put the most time into this month, even though that wasn’t a huge amount of time. For sure though, if you have Game Pass or PS+ Extra, check it out. It’s good fun.

New This Month

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart hit Playstation+ Extra. This was kind of a tentpole launch title for the Playstation 5 and was supposed to show off the capabilities of the machine. I kept meaning to buy it but never did, and now I’m glad I didn’t because I can play it for pseudo-free! And…. it’s OK. I mean it is a beauty to behold, but I think I’ve just outgrown the genre. It’s satisfying to hop in and smash stuff and then vacuum up all the nuts & bolts (which pass for currency) but I never play it for more then half an hour before getting bored. So I’m REALLY glad I didn’t pay $70 or whatever it was at launch. A younger version of me would been over the moon for this game, though. Point being that it isn’t a bad game (it got great reviews), just not my kind of game. But it sure is pretty!

Alternate dimension lombax Rivet hangs out with Mort. That’s Mort on the left. also on the right. All these critters are named Mort, dontcha know.

Other than that I’ve been spending a LOT of time in VR. Doing the workouts (which means playing Beat Saber, The Climb and Pistol Whip) has been good for me but does leave me feeling tired and often too lazy to play a conventional game. And when I’m not working out I’ve been playing less-active games like Racoon Lagoon & Shadow Legend. I find it can be pretty hard to talk about VR games, though, because they always sound boring unless you’re in there, doing stuff.


Mrs. Davis — Mrs Davis is a Siri-like digital ‘assistant’ that has basically taken over the world. She tasks a nun with recovering the holy grail. Like literally, THE Holy Grail. Sounds bizarre, right? Well it was, but it was weird enough to be hard to follow, but not quite weird enough to be in that “OMG I don’t know what I’m watching but I love it” category. [See, for example, Everything Everywhere All At Once]. We finished it but found it was not a good show to binge. It was best in small doses and in the end, well, it was OK.

Midnight Club — Teenagers dying from terminal diseases encounter the supernatural while living out their final days in a hospice. I was dubious but it ended up being really good, though as you might expect it’s not always the most upbeat of shows. Still there are moments of joy. There’s also like an anthology series tucked inside with some good stories (the kids tell each other scary stories as part of the titular Midnight Club). In fact it’s kind of 3 shows in once. The ‘short stories’ the kids tell each other, the ‘what supernatural thing is happening’ story, and the story about teenage kids facing their impending deaths together. The ending was not cut & dry, but still felt pretty satisfying even though not all the mysteries were solved. In fact that seemed somewhat appropriate. [Since writing this earlier this month I’ve learned that the show has already been cancelled. I still think it is worth watching but just be aware you aren’t going to get a nice neat ending and there are definitely mysteries that remain unsolved, but it doesn’t end on a major cliffhanger.]

Ted Lasso – I’d watched and loved the first 2 seasons but I could never get @partpurple to try it. Now I have and she is also loving it. Such a great show, full of good feels.


Finished Persepolis Rising and started Tiamat’s Wrath (both part of The Expanse series). Honestly so far this feels like part 1 and part 2 of the same book. Persepolis Rising starts 30 years after the prior book and that kind of saddened me, as of course all the old crew we’ve grown to know and love are now much older and I just feel like we missed out on hearing about so many adventures! The big bad now (spoiler incoming) is a Mars faction that took over a system that held ancient dockyards. Suddenly 30 years later they return with a plan to conquer all mankind, and advanced tech (they’ve been playing with the proto-molecule) to make it happen. Maybe I’ll get sucked back in; we’ll see. I mean both are still good books but not as jaw-droppingly good as I found the earlier Expanse novels.

And I guess that’s about it for May!

Steam VR With Meta Quest 2 via Air Link

So I finally got around to testing out playing Steam VR games using the Meta Quest 2 via Air Link. Let’s unpack that a bit.

The Meta Quest 2, of course, is Meta’s stand-alone consumer VR visor that runs on a mobile chipset and has its own app store. This is what I use to do my VR workouts and it’s a great product for that and in generally a really nice VR system.

Oculus, back before Meta bought it, made a tethered PCVR headset called the Rift S. To use it you’d install an Oculus app on your Windows machine. This app had its own store. A few years back Meta stopped making the Rift S, but they started selling a $70 “Link Cable” that let you use the Meta Quest 2 as a tethered PCVR headset so you could still play (and purchase!) Rift games. (Rift games won’t run natively on the Quest 2, and vice versa, though some games are ‘cross-buy’ and you get both versions for one cost.)

Then 3rd party modders, and eventually Meta themselves, introduced Air Link which let you ditch the cable and use the Quest 2 as a PCVR headset via WiFi. Lots of caveats about the quality of your WiFi network and all that. But it works, at least for me, and not only does it eliminate having a cable to get tangled up in, it means you don’t need to be near your PC to play, though you probably want to be pretty near a WiFi access point. (I play VR in the living room and it just so happens the Google Fiber WiFi router is about 6 feet from where I play.) I set this up a week or so ago without much effort. The only very slight annoyance is I have to manually switch my audio output (on the PC) to “Oculus Virtual Device” before I start playing, or I get no sound.

SteamVR, of course, is Steam…in VR. Steam sells VR titles including what some would argue is the best VR title available, Half-Life Alyx. (I have no opinion on that…yet.)

So with all that out of the way, here’s what the experience is like for me.

I put on the Quest 2 and I get the Quest 2 home dashboard and access to my Quest 2 games. Then I open Settings and tap a button to connect to my PC via Air Link. When I do that the Quest 2 dashboard goes poof and I switch to the Oculus PC/Rift dashboard and I can play my Rift games. So far this has been a great experience. Once I hit some lag but so far, only once.

Going further down the rabbit hole, I can also access my PC desktop via the Rift Dashboard. Once I do that I can load Steam VR just as if I was sitting at my desk. When I do that, the Oculus Rift dashboard goes poof and the Steam VR dashboard appears. For some reason when it first appears it flickers for about 5-10 seconds but so far it has always stabilized. And from there I can run Steam VR games, and at some point I apparently bought Half-Life Alyx, and that’s what I used to test tonight.

I didn’t get very far, but boy it was pretty breathtaking. You start out on a balcony overlooking a city where those big strider things are ambling around, and various drones are hovering overhead while down below in the streets people mill about. All I did, since dum-dum me decided to start this experiment after 11 PM on a work night, is kind of wander around and throw cans at pigeons and stuff, so no comments on the gameplay but it was sure pretty and ran smooth as can be.

So yeah, pretty happy about how well this all works and now I can finally see what all the fuss is about in Half Life Alyx.

Spending ALL the Money on VR

My birthday is next month and apparently I’m celebrating it early because I have been spending SO much money on myself and VR recently. And so far, no regrets.

I’m still doing my VR workouts 4 times a week, hitting all the goals I’ve set for myself and really working up a sweat and getting the heart rate up every time, so in some sense if I squint my eyes and tilt my head just right, this spending is going towards my health and personal well-being. Oh, the lengths we go to justify indulging ourselves!

Of course even that doesn’t justify the really big purchase. In a moment of will-power break down, I ordered the Playstation VR2. I knew after I ordered the prescription lens inserts for it, it was only a matter of time but I didn’t think I’d break down and go for it this soon. But a brief exchange with Bhagpuss got me thinking about how much more time I have when I’ll be fit and able enough to play games so… why keep putting it off? So I ordered it direct from Sony. A few hours later I had second thoughts and logged in to cancel the order but it has already shipped! It arrived next day and I made my peace with the purchase.

I don’t have a lot to say about it as my prescription lenses aren’t here yet (I assumed it’d take like a week for the thing to get here…the overnight delivery was quite a surprise). I had @partpurple 3D print me some lens protectors so I could wear my glasses without any danger of scratching the lenses, but the design isn’t great and they rubbed on my nose enough that it hurt. After one brief session, I decided to try to wait for the prescription lens inserts to arrive.

But new gear means new accessories, so I bought a hard case for it and ordered a ‘comfort strap‘ that a bunch of YouTubers recommended.

None of that means I’m done with the Quest 2 though. As my workouts got more enthusiastic I started having more issues with the visor sliding around and my view of the world going fuzzy as a result. I was using a 3rd party strap (the one that comes with the Quest is kind of crap, but on the plus side Meta designed the Quest 2 to accomodate 3rd party straps) but wanted something better. Today the “BOBOVR M2 Pro Battery Pack Head Strap” arrived and it is really nice. Very comfortable, doesn’t slide around and has an extra battery for if/when my sessions get longer than the Quest 2’s internal battery can handle. [I’ve kind of killed my battery’s health by leaving the Q2 plugged in on standby for like a year straight, so it only holds about an hour’s charge now.] Picture, courtesy of Amazon, at the top of the post.

And then there’s a lighting issue. Even with all our living room lights on, the Quest reports that it’s too dark for good tracking when I use it after dark. Usually I do my workouts early enough that it is still light out but if I want to start doing other VR stuff later in the evening I needed to solve that. So I ordered a couple of IR lights for the living room. The idea being the infrared light won’t bother my eyes but will make tracking better for the headsets. They haven’t arrived yet so how well they work remains to be seen.

So yeah, it has been an EXPENSIVE week thanks to VR. Fortunately my ‘play money’ fund was sufficient to accommodate all this as I’ve been pretty careful about spending for the last few years. Here’s hoping I stick with it after spending all this cash!

More VR Noodling

For the past couple of nights I’ve been using the Meta Quest 2 for my ‘workouts’ and the Rift S for VR gaming. I really have very few complaints about the Quest 2. Yes, the image quality isn’t as sharp as PC VR games but that was something I was fully aware of going in. It’s a question of a mobile processor vs a beefy GPU in the PC.

I have prescription lens inserts for it so glasses aren’t an issue and a third party strap for additional comfort over what came in the box. I also got a nicer interface (the bit that presses against your face) that is easy to clean after a sweaty session.

The Rift S is actually quite comfortable but it is of course a tethered solution. For me that means running a cable from my gaming PC located in the corner, across the room to the spot in front of the TV where I have clear space for VRing. (Is VR a verb?) It’s a pretty beefy cable that eventually splits into 2 at the PC: one strand for display port and the other a USB cable. It’s kind of a hassle because the cable will knock things off tables and stuff as I route it around loveseats, lamps and doggos.

Additionally I don’t have prescription lenses for the Rift S so I have to cram my glasses in there which, honestly, isn’t THAT big a deal once I got used to it. And I could always order a set of lenses.

But the Rift S is older tech. It has a lower resolution (1,440 x 1,280/eye) than the Quest 2 (1,832 x 1,920/eye) and a lower refresh rate (80 Hz vs 120Hz for the Quest 2).

So tonight I decided to try out linking the Quest 2 to the PC. Originally this required a long USB-C cable that was fairly expensive ($80 from Meta) but a while back some clever person figured out how to do this link via WiFi. Originally it was kind of a hack but at some point Meta added it to the software.

I’m pretty old school when it comes to WiFi and gaming. In other words, I’m a skeptic. I have all my gaming consoles and my PC hardwired to Ethernet. But before I spent $80 on a Link Cable I decided to try it “Air Link” as it is called. It was pretty easy to do. I ran into 2 issues. First was I had the Oculus app on my PC enrolled in a ‘Public Test Channel’ and had to back out of that for some reason. Second was that I had disabled the Oculus Virtual Audio device when I was futzing with sound issues. Without that the Quest 2 got no sound.

Once those two very minor issues were sorted, it just kind of worked. You put on the Quest 2 and you see your usual Quest 2 UI. Then you go into settings and turn on the Link and you get the Oculus PC UI. I fired up the PCVR game I’ve been playing and off I went. Tetherless PCVR gaming, yay!

Or mostly yay. It ran pretty smoothly until it didn’t. At one point I had a little glitch where I hit a pocket of lag and then everything caught up. Normally this wouldn’t have been too big an issue but in VR it was pretty nauseating. It only happened once but I was only testing (aka hacking undead skeletal soldiers with a broadsword) for 30 minutes or so. So we’ll see.

I do think if the Air Link doesn’t work out, I may spring for that $80 cable so I can just retire the Rift S. Maybe find someone to sell it too. It’s kind of silly to have both when the Quest 2 can cover all bases.

What I haven’t tried yet is Steam VR with any of this; that’s the next thing on my list to get sorted.